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DRC: Pillay warns of post-electoral violence, calls for accountability and restraint

GENEVA – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Thursday deplored the killings and other acts of violence committed by Congolese security forces and supporters of political parties in the context of the presidential and parliamentary elections in the country over the past few days.

The UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been monitoring election-related violence countrywide and is investigating reports that more than 10 people have allegedly been killed by security forces and supporters of political parties, and many more wounded through the use of live ammunition, in Kinshasa since 26 November.

“Political leaders from all sides have a crucial role to play at this important crossroads in the history of DRC. It is their responsibility to resolve tensions through peaceful means,” Pillay said. “They must realise that they may be held criminally responsible for their actions as well as for acts committed by their supporters.”

“Clearly, political differences cannot be resolved through killings, and security forces should not use disproportionate force in the conduct of crowd control,” Pillay added. “Such violations, as well as violence committed by supporters of political parties, must be investigated and perpetrators brought to justice without delay.”

Pillay stressed the obligation of the Government under Congolese and international laws to protect the fundamental rights of the people, including the right to life and security of the person.

She urged all sides of the political spectrum to exercise restraint and to resolve differences in a peaceful manner to prevent the country from sliding into a cycle of post-electoral violence. “Political leaders must work actively to prevent such violence in the midst of what is a very tense situation,” she said.

The UNJHRO earlier this month issued a report into the pre-electoral situation in the DRC. The report noted that a failure to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms at this crucial time could lead to further violence.

The report can be accessed on http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/ZRIndex.aspx.

ENDS

Learn more about the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/HighCommissioner.aspx

OHCHR Country Page – Democratic Republic of the Congo: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/ZRIndex.aspx

For more information or interviews, please contact
In Geneva: UN Human Rights spokesperson Rupert Colville (+ 41 22 917 9767 or rcolville@ohchr.org) or press officers: Ravina Shamdasani (+ 41 22 917 9310 or rshamdasani@ohchr.org) or Xabier Celaya (+ 41 22 917 9383 or xcelaya@ohchr.org)

In Kinshasa: Director of the UNJHRO in DRC Scott Campbell (+ 243 (0) 997 06 88 07 or campbells@un.org) or public information officer Rachel Sherwin (+243 (0) 810 91 56 00 or sherwin@un.org)

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